Laptop batteries provide computers with power when not connected to an electrical socket. Although rechargeable, they tend to lose their ability to charge overtime and therefore require replacement. Knowing important features to look for ensures your laptop becomes portable again.
An incompatible computer battery model cannot properly charge a laptop, and worst case scenario, it may damage the device. To ensure compatibility, keep in mind the laptop make and model. Buyers should also examine their current battery for a part number located on its casing. The voltage, specifically, should match that of the current battery; using higher or lower volts burns up the laptop. The laptop size is also important, as a 3-inch Toshiba, Asus, or HP laptop battery cannot physically fit into a 2-inch slot on a laptop.
Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) batteries are most reliable and meet rigorous safety standards; however, third-party supplier varieties are generally less expensive and often formulated from the same parts. Similarly, it is important to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of purchasing new vs. refurbished. Refurbished batteries are cheaper; however, their old age is often a deterrent, as this lessens their reliability.
Laptop batteries list their capacities, or power rating, in milliamp hours (mAh). Those with a higher mAh produce more power and take longer to drain, allowing for longer use before connecting to a laptop battery charger. Look for a battery that has at least 5,000 mAh for optimal performance. It is important to note that the number of programs running and the type of components a computer uses can also affect drainage rate. Unlike voltage, buyers are free to upgrade the mAh rating when shopping for a new battery.
A Lithium-ion battery or lithium polymer battery is the ideal choice due to longevity of use and quick charging capabilities. Conversely, nickel cadmium and nickel metal hydride batteries are considered outdated; these obsolete batteries weigh significantly more than their more modern counterparts do, and they suffer from the "memory effect", which prevents them from fully recharging over time.
Laptop batteries have a deputed service life. For optimal performance, consider those that have an increased number of charging cycles. Most laptop batteries can go anywhere between 300 and 1500 charging cycles. While it is possible to use the battery after it surpasses the maximum number of charge cycles, the battery may not hold a charge as well, and therefore, battery replacement is recommended.